The Coquille St. Jacques des Côtes d'Armor PGI is a shellfish belonging to the Pecten Maximus species, Pectinidae family, Ostreoida order, Bivalvia or Lamellibranches class.
The production area of the Coquille St. Jacques des Côtes d'Armor PGI covers the natural reservoir of Côtes-d'Armor in Brittany.
The shellfish is caught during the winter, from October to April, by a flotilla of small craft. The entire living shellfish is generally conditioned in wooden baskets. The production of the St. Jacques shellfish starts from a live shell and is mostly sold frozen. The period between fishing and shelling is up to two days.
Appearance and Flavour
The minimum commercial size of the Coquille St. Jacques des Côtes d'Armor PGI is 10.2 cm. The shellfish has a colour ranging from red to brown and sometimes pink or mottled.
The origin of the name Coquille St. Jacques des Côtes d'Armor PGI dates back to the Middle Ages, the Galician pilgrims of Santiago de Compostela had the custom to adorn their coats with the shells as a sign of recognition. Furthermore, this shell has maintained for many years a decorative design that has inspired many architectural styles. From a gastronomic point of view, this product has been used since the mists of time, appreciated since ancient times especially by the Romans at their banquets.
Coquille St. Jacques des Côtes d'Armor PGI is stored in a cool and well ventilated place. They can also be stored in the least cold compartment of the refrigerator in a clean cloth, where they will keep for up to three days. From a gastronomic point of view, the exquisiteness of its meat makes it a simple and sophisticated dish that has always seduced the greatest of chefs, as it is ideal for a great many dishes and satisfies the most delicate of palates. It is accompanied well with butter, cream, cider and apples and goes well with winter vegetables, such as endives. The shells are usually accompanied with salad, cooked on skewers with fruit, or au gratin with bread crumbs and béchamel sauce. It is advisable not to overcook and to cook them just before serving.
The product is sold as Coquille St. Jacques des Côtes d'Armor PGI and marketed with no additives or colourings, in three forms: whole, shelled fresh or frozen. From the beginning of October to the beginning of March the meat of the shell is not a coral red.
The meat of the Coquille St. Jacques des Côtes d'Armor PGI provides the organism with a great deal of essential minerals, including phosphorus, good for growth and the health of teeth, and silicon, an antioxidant that protects the premature aging of cells.